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Lot 26: 1971 XY GTHO Phase 111
22 October 2016
Melbourne, AustraliaLive Auction
1971 XY GTHO Phase 111
Just what is it about the Phase III GT-HO that has made the car such an icon and the king of the local muscle car scene? The fact that, of the 300 original examples built, just over half survive in original condition. That it was the ultimate Falcon GT in terms of raw performance, not to mention the fastest four-door sedan in the world at the time? Perhaps it's the racing heritage - the GT-HO proved just about unbeatable at Bathurst, taking out five of the top six places in 1971, with Allan Moffat at the wheel of the winning car. Whatever it might be, for most Aussie blokes with even a passing interest in cars, the Phase III has become a legend and this ultimate status has translated into unprecedented appreciation in recent years.
Based on the hottest Falcon of the era, the XY GT, complete with Shaker hood and thumping 351-cid V8, the HO option added a front spoiler and full-width rear wing to an already tough looking package. Under the bonnet (complete with stripes and lock-out pins) there were new heads and valve gear while a four-barrel Holley 780 cfm carburettor and higher compression ratio of 11.5:1 helped boost output to a staggering 370 bhp at 5400 rpm. With a choice of three diff ratios and a close-ratio gearbox optional, other modifications included thicker stabiliser bars and bigger rear drums. All of this added up to the finest handling, quickest and most desirable GT Falcon ever produced in Australia. Make no mistake, the Phase III remains a seriously fast motor car - figures like 14.4 seconds down the quarter mile and a top speed of 142 mph remain impressive even now, 36 years later. Without question the most collectable production car ever made in Australia, the Ford Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III has become a rapidly appreciating asset in recent years but slipping behind the wheel all this becomes largely irrelevant, as the cars true worth can only be experienced behind the wheel.
With a 351 cubic inch (5.8-litre) V8, the GT-HO (the HO stood for handling option) was a race bred special.
Based on the 1969 XW GT, only 300 Phase IIIs were built for Bathurst, with the addition of a beefy rear anti-sway bar, larger Holley carby, lumpier camshaft, free flowing intake manifold and different lifters and valves.
The engine pumped out an impressive for the time 300bhp or 224kW in today's figures, but the real figure is said to have been closer to 380bhp or 284kW.